Sunday, January 29, 2012

Have You Ever...?

So I'm taking this online course... well, truthfully, I'm taking a few

it's an addiction, apparently...

I signed up for Stephanie Lee's Handbook of Elements class last Fall, even though I knew I had no time for it when the class was actually happening... but the beauty of online classes is that they are usually available for a a three month or more time period

so I knew I could get to it, eventually

and eventually is now
 it's a course on making books, with covers of metal and the pages of plaster
and the button string you see above and below is just one of the things Stephanie showed us how to do

I'd never made one before - never even heard of them but now I think I'm addicted...
I've made 6 so far and had to force myself to stop
have you ever made a button strung?
Stephanie said it was the first craft she learned, other than finger painting...
the first craft I learned other than finger painting was to knit

I would have liked this much better!

I added a charm to to one and love it
and so I am looking at everything with fresh eyes now, wondering how it could be worked into a chain - so addictive!

the plaster gauze arrived this week and as the class expires on the 31, I have been busy making plaster pages and getting things ready so I can bind at least one book before the video is gone

I didn't make the metal covers - I'm brave enough to attempt it but my DH is a tad nervous of some of my artistic escapades (he warn't all that impressed when I wanted to burn canvas with a heat gun - although in his defence, it was only two days after our house fire - he relegated me to the fire-pit with a 60 foot extension cord )

we'll leave soldering for another day....

and for those of you that were asking...
the above fabric is called "Communique" and is by Graphics 45 for Wilmington prints.
If you can't find it where you are, the shop I work at will mail order to anywhere in the world; you just pay for the fabric (15.95 per meter) plus postage (they will only charge you the exact cost of the postage - nothing extra). The shops blog with contact info is here, and you can email your request to them.

and, just for fun - how about a giveaway, from me to one of my Followers?

1/2 metre of the Communique fabric shown above,
just leave a comment here and I will draw a name on Wednesday at 6:00 pm Pacific time
Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Evolution of An Idea

mind's a-whirr again

this cloth came in the other day and it was love at first sight

words and hands, fountain pens and postmarks
and my brain started buzzing - thoughts and ideas tumbling one after another but none forming to completion
ideas of random creations, in various stages


and then one started to take more shape

so far I've cut strips of fabric 1/4" wide and started tying little knots, cutting them apart with pinking shears 

palest pink tinged with gold and cream

 aqua with hits of the palest green and grey

a beautiful Christmas toile that is pure inspiration

like an ink sketch with palest sepia and washes of light pink


a post card image from the Graphics Fairy and a picture copied from a book about the history of Paris
all of these and more are coming together, both in my mind
and on 140 lb watercolour paper

I have an idea for the invitations for this year's Sale...yes, yes, it's early, but when ideas come, you just have to run with them....
come Sunday I'll be up to my elbows in paint and glue!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's All In the Details

Still quilting... still loving it...

this is one of the other ones I started last week
sewing strips
cutting triangles
cutting them some more

the pieces coming together like little hearts


soft pink, red and dusty blue
the colours of France
most of the fabrics are from the Rouenneries collection by French General
not all though - I do like to mix it up a bit

beige, taupe and cream are the neutrals

and the borders pull them all together so they make sense
it's about 42" square and will be a table topper for my kitchen table
once I get the painting and flooring done that is
and the lights and the sink
faucet and curtains

borders laid out but not sewn
last night we watched Midnight in Paris.

have you seen it?

if not, I do recommend it

it's definitely a Woody Allen movie with it's fair share of distracting dialogue that is more thinking out loud than sharing a conversation - you have to be quick to catch a lot of the innuendos tossed back and forth. 

and the scenery...
there were more than a few "we were right there" moments but what I really loved about it was the way he wove some of the famous artists of Paris into the story

to see them brought to life, nonchalant in their ignorance of their later fame was wonderful

as was the idea of them all together like that... sharing...
kind of like what we do here

except of course they get to do it in Paris.. tiny little detail....

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fabric & Thread

Off today, and into the sewing room I went...
coffee in hand while the snow whirled and swirled outside

My fabric piles have been distracting me of late, and I waffle between groaning over how much there is and being entranced by all the colour, pattern and texture calling out...

there is an oriental print at the shop that has been there for a couple of years - black with little pink and white cherry blossoms interspersed with circles filled with oriental motifs...

a very interesting piece of cloth
 every time someone brought it to the counter I would wish I could think of something to do with it

finally one day I put myself out of my misery and bought some

and today I started a little quilt with it

the blocks are all finished and laid out on the floor so I can think about a border... so far I'm lovin' it

and I've been meaning to tell you - 
remember last summer I told you about our little Miss Josie cat and how the vet had diagnosed her with acute renal failure?

she weighed about 2.2 kilos (under 5 lbs) was desperately thin, and while her blood work showed the kidneys weren't functioning properly, it seems renal failure wasn't the problem. 

We have no idea what was wrong with her (worms or some kind of bird flu have both been tossed around) but with a huge effort of feeding and hydrating her, I am pleased to say Mistress Josy-phine is now weighing in at a healthy 3.9 kilos and has a lovely round belly!

and has taken to playing in the bathtub at all hours of the night!
she takes her little cat toys in and tosses them all about and wakes up the whole house

the other night Bozzy went in and howled something fierce at her...

and I bet it wasn't "hush"!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hush A Bye Trees

 gesso on my fingers

there's nothing like paint on your fingers to make you feel like an artist

I grabbed the camera to preserve that moment, that thought for myself

and I giggled because that first thought that had popped into my head was of Florence and the artist's guilds, the masters and then I said "hush girl" - that's a place to be revered...

this book I'm preparing, gessoing it's pages, is for my year long foray into the study of words

 I'm only preparing a few pages now - it feels more fluid that way, not preparing them all
I can decide as I go what I want to do on the page without feeling I've er - painted myself into a corner

I love the front cover, with it's soft grey colours; hush is grey and pale, silvery with the first light of dawn, when the world around you is sleeping

or dark like a whisper in the night

hush is your mother's hand smoothing your hair after you fall

hush a bye baby

I just read North American Indians placed babies in the tree branches to rock them to sleep on the wind

I love that

It reminds me that when I was little I thought the trees were dancing - I didn't know it was the wind that was making them sway to and fro 

I think I'm ready to believe it again...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Easy On Me

 Finishing up some obligations before I can get to the fun stuff...

fun stuff being new stuff


this year, to make it easy on myself, I am teaching one class per month and calling the series 
"The Twelve Months of Christmas"
each project is something with a winter or Christmas theme
and it's easy on me because come November, that will be 11 more things for the Sale

January starts with this wall hanging I designed, "Frosty's Fence"

each fence post has a decoration and as frosty is looking for a snowball fight, three posts have button snowballs perched on top, as well as one in his hand

choosing the fabrics is the most fun part and my reward after the strains of trying to draw what I am thinking (to whoever invented erasers - a big thank you!)

some of you might know my penchant for using the wrong side of fabric as the right side - the sky above is an example of that... well, the buttons on the snowman are wrong side up as well. So often the design qualities from the front come through but the end result is more subdued...

and a stack of snowballs at the ready!

I think I was half-way through and found myself wishing I hadn't made it so "cute" - I had something much grimier in mind, kind of like a Pigpen Snowman if you get my drift...
so I think I will give this another go, and change it up here and there to make something a little rougher around the edges - a little more me...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

There's A Kind Of Hush

Happy New Year!


My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,
My den is all a-cozy glow:
And snug before the fire I sit,
And wait to feel the old year go.
I dedicate to solemn thought
Amid my too-unthinking days,
This sober moment, sadly fraught
With much of blame, with little praise.

This is the first verse of a New Year's poem by Robert Service, which goes on to address all the emotions one might have as one faces the end of a year... happy, sad, grateful, remorseful...

And that pretty much describes me last night... I think I felt all of those emotions and then some, but I think of them all, grateful was the best. How lucky we are to have lived another year in good health, with everything we need and then some. How lucky we are to live where we do, where people are safe and secure; a land of opportunity.

I was going to beat myself up a little today about not being a high achiever with my New Year's Aspirations for 2011 but then I remembered my word for last year was "content". And I realized then, that regardless of everything else on the list of what I believed I should do or try to do, I had achieved that. 

I am content.

And so my first word for 2012, to focus on for the month of January is "hush". 

Hush is one of those words that can be soft and soothing,  bossy, or sharp, lullabies and lilting songs... 

I chose it first to remind me for the rest of the year, the rest of the words, to hush, and listen and see what comes...